Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 68.81
Liaison Michael Mendoza
Submission Date Jan. 4, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Houston
AC-8: Campus as a Living Laboratory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Melissa Halstead
Sustainability Coordinator
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Air & Climate?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Air & Climate:

Students have been measuring ozone levels around campus, getting a real-life lesson in collecting and analyzing data for a class in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The project offers students a look at how dramatically ozone levels can vary and an understanding of Houston’s ozone’s composition.

http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2018/october-2018/10032018talbot-ozone-meters.php


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Buildings?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Buildings:

From the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design Professor Bruce Race and a group of his students conducted a feasibility study by designing an Eco-District on campus. The project focused on a proof of concept and included a UH net zero water and energy campus, green infrastructure, and creating a smart campus. The approach included stormwater management, investing in green infrastructure, alternative transportation and emphasis on pedestrians to improve the environment, aesthetics and economic performance.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/18L89jd7pX4QNYA1qn3SCxMxGCH4AEuSG/view?usp=sharing


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Energy?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Energy:

Yan Yao, an University of Houston associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and his lab discovered a new material that has proven an effective anode for acid and alkaline batteries, including emerging aqueous metal-ion batteries, offering the promise of safe, long-lasting batteries that work across a range of temperatures. Their use of quinones are inexpensive, earth-abundant and easily recyclable material. These batteries are effective for the use of energy storage which can help progress electric cars, wind and solar power along with other clean energy technologies.

http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2017/June/06192017Yao-Quinone-Electrode-Battery.php


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Food & Dining?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Food & Dining:

UH Dining's ​Teaching Kitchen is a platform to explore food, culinary & nutrition literacy that​will positively impact food choices and experiences.​ ​​​Students can take part in creating a dish on their own at the instruction of our talented executive chefs and managers. Teaching Kitchens are open to all meal plan holders, and guests must sign up to participate.

https://dineoncampus.com/uh/teaching-kitchen


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Grounds?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Grounds:

University of Houston assistant professor of biology and biochemistry, Dr. Kerri Crawford and graduate student Anna Hawkins collect soil from the University of Houston Coastal Center to understand how it interacts with plant species and how the interaction is influenced by changes in climate. Plant soils microbial interactions and whether a change in climate alter plant diversity is essential because a drop in diversity could affect native plants, wildlife and farm crops. Texas soil is expected to be drier in the future and their research focuses on how plant species will interact with these changes in climate.

http://www.uh.edu/research/news/magazine/2016/climate-change/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Purchasing?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Purchasing:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Transportation?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Transportation:

The UH Succeed in Engineering Technology Scholars (SETS) student program’s 2017 project focused on a Bike Share option for the main UH Campus to provide additional sustainable transportation to and around campus. The project included a campus-wide survey, discussed bike share options, and included aspects of technology and sustainability. The students collaborated with various stakeholders, including Houston B-Cycle, UH transportation, UH Office of Sustainability, and UH Architecture companies. The project accounted for all bike stations to be run by solar energy, accessibility of potential bike paths and bike stations, as well as evaluating campus body interest for biking to and around campus. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B71j15VfaERaRzFITHM2YTlEUlE/view


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Waste?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Waste:

Students under the supervision and guidance of the Office of Sustainability staff conducted the campus’s first internal waste audit for the Student Center located on campus. As an effort to encourage and improve recycling within the campus’s most popular building, the team worked with facilities and took a sample of both trash and recycle receptacles. The results were the recycling stream contained an a large amount of food scraps (32.7 percent overall) and trash (22.9 percent). Overall, these took up more than half of the recycling stream contents. Only 34.6 percent of the contents were recyclable materials. These findings and recommendations were discussed with the Student Center and disseminated campus wide by the sustainability newsletter.

https://uhsustain.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/recycling-reality-check/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Water?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Water:

A group of University of Houston students enrolled in Energy & Sustainability with similar interests in water conservation investigated a potential water-saving solution for the University of Houston with the guidance of their professor. Their research project evaluates the structure, costs and laws of the current on-campus water management system and analyzes sound technical methodologies and water conservation strategies that could be implemented within the campus. A website was published that reviews their findings: https://uhwater.weebly.com/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Coordination & Planning?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Coordination & Planning:

The Sustainability Task Force, established in 2009 transformed to the Sustainability Committee in 2016 includes university staff, faculty, and students that are actively engaged in coordination, planning and governance. The committee is charged with developing and implementing campus sustainability strategies and policies, instituting monitoring mechanisms for sustainable practices. Positive outcomes from this committee include the completion of this report, and the facilitation of many of the other living labs outlined in this section.
http://www.uh.edu/af-university-services/sustainability/campus-initiatives/Sustainability%20Committee/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Diversity & Affordability?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Diversity & Affordability:

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) Ambassador program promotes the University's commitment to diversity and the creation of a global learning community. They help bring individuals and groups of students together to engage with and learn from one another. Ambassadors have multiple opportunities to develop foundational leadership skills and refine personal and professional strengths. After attending a three-hour learning intensive orientation, ambassadors are fully prepared to represent the CDI mission of diversity and understanding. A year long appointment, ambassador job responsibilities include attending CDI meetings, representing CDI at other departmental meetings, creating and maintaining a positive and educational social media presence, and educating the campus about diversity and inclusion values.

Positive outcomes include general office and intercultural experience training for CDI ambassadors, campus networking, and increased intercultural competence for the campus as a whole.

https://www.uh.edu/cdi/student_opportunities/cdi_ambassador_program.html


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Investment & Finance?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Investment & Finance:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Public Engagement?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Public Engagement:

In the Office of Sustainability, students under the supervision of the program manager actively engage the public through social media, outreach, the attending of meetings and events, and partner with local organizations. Positive outcomes are manifold including donating produce to food pantries located in food deserts, a sustainability blog, a monthly sustainability newsletter, and project collaborations with Houston sustainability organizations.

http://www.uh.edu/af-university-services/sustainability/news/


Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to Wellbeing & Work?:
No

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to Wellbeing & Work:
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Is the institution utilizing its campus as a living laboratory for multidisciplinary student learning and applied research in relation to other areas (e.g. arts & culture or technology)?:
Yes

A brief description of the student/faculty projects and how they contribute to understanding campus sustainability challenges or advancing sustainability on campus in relation to other areas:

A student-designed mobile computer lab, powered by solar energy and housed in a metal shipping container, was developed at the University of Houston engineering technology students. The lab was a project that involved students painting the container, and connecting solar panels that power the lights, air conditioning and laptop computers inside. Students from the UH industrial design program created the furniture, lighting and other human factors inside the 19-by-7 foot space. The mobile computer lab was donated and shipped to Africa, where it will be used to improve literacy rates in Mali.

http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2017/April/05232017Mobile-Solar-Lab.php


The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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